Former Florida QB Kerwin Bell’s Valdosta State team just won a Division II championship averaging 52 points per game. The Gator great now wants to show his offense can work at the FBS level.
Bell was announced Thursday as the new offensive coordinator at USF. Making the move from head coach at VSU to play-caller at USF reunites Bell with a familiar face: Charlie Strong. The Bulls head coach was a graduate assistant at UF in 1983-84. Bell joined the Gators as a walk-on quarterback in 1983.
“I have known Kerwin for more than 30 years and have a great deal of respect for what he has done in his career both as a player and coach and the success of the football programs he has led,” Strong said in the official announcement. “He has directed some very explosive, high-scoring offenses and consistently puts his players in position to reach their highest potential. We are very excited to have Kerwin joining our staff.”
As a redshirt freshman, Bell earned SEC Player of the Year honors at Florida in 1984, leading the Gators to a 9-1-1 season. He was first-team All-SEC in 1985, when UF again went 9-1-1. After his UF career ended in 1987, Bell played professionally in the NFL (1988-90; 1996), World Football League (1991-92) and Canadian Football League (1993-95; 1998-2001).
In a break during his playing career, Bell served as a graduate assistant at Florida in 1990. In his final CFL season as a player, he also served as the Toronto Argonauts offensive coordinator. After ending his CFL career, he became the head coach at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Fla. In 2007, he became the coach at Jacksonville University. He left JU after the 2015 season reportedly over the school not offering football scholarships, making it difficult to compete with other FCS programs. In 2016, he became the head coach at Valdosta State, a Division II program which offers scholarships.